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Dad feeling rejected and dejected!

(10 Posts)
jonpb71 Tue 22-Jan-13 10:38:48

I am the dad of a 3 and a half year old boy and an 18 month old girl.

Both children want and prefer mummy for virtually everything at the moment - the harder I try (my partner says I am a great dad and I feel I couldn't do any more), the more likely I am to be rejected.

This morning it was my turn to get up with our daughter. She screamed her head off for mummy and threw a paddy for 10 minutes downstairs. When mummy and my son got up later on, his mum showed me his dry night pants and invited me to celebrate, but when I went to hug him he pulled away.

If mum is not around, the kids and i get on fine. When mum is around, their preference for her and rejection of me for: putting on shoes, coats, picking them up, changing nappy, whatever, is killing me.

I am also an adoptee - so i don't deal with rejection particularly well.


tootiredtothinkofanickname Tue 22-Jan-13 11:09:00

Totally normal, I would say. Is your DP their primary carer? Keep in mind it isn't personal and they will grow out of it. DS is 2 and he also seems to go through a mummy phase, although my DH is very involved and DS loves him.

I found this interesting, although a bit American in approach.

Please don't take it personally, in most cases it is very healthy and a good sign for childrent to form a strong attachment with their primary carer. It is not a sign that they love you less.

neolara Tue 22-Jan-13 11:16:18

I'm afraid this is totally normal. If it's any consolation, my 6 yo ds now only wants his daddy to read him a bed time story - I am persona non grata. In a months time, your dcs may well have switched allegiance back to you. And the following month they may only want their mummy again. Really, don't take it personally. And don't let them know that it gets to you (or being little children who are programmed to press their parents buttons at will) or they will almost certainly do it more.

attheendoftheday Tue 22-Jan-13 11:17:07

I only have a 20 month old so my advice might be a bit limited. We've found that our dd goes through stages of prefering me or her dad, that it's nothing personal and will come round to 'your turn' again.

I do think it's related to how much time she is spending with us, which makes sense I suppose. When I was on maternity leave dd consistently wanted me over dp, now I'm back at work and we split the childcare equally dd's preferences are more equal too. I worked very long hours over Xmas week when dp was off, and she's still wanting dp if he's available.

What works for us is that dd doesn't have a huge amount of choice which parent she is with as dp and I work opposite shifts as much as possible. She does protest on occasion, but I don't think being left with the less favoured parent will do her any harm, and it helps her to build her relationship with them.

Is there any way you can take over more of the childcare for a bit and see if that helps to even things out a bit?

matana Tue 22-Jan-13 11:48:30

Just to say that yes it is totally normal, though i know how upset it makes my DH on occasions!

DS is mummy's boy. There are times he'll be very sweet and loving to DH, or more tolerant, but his preference is invariably for me. When i sense one of those difficult "Only mummy will do" phases coming on, i discreetly ensure that DH and DS spend time alone together. I make myself scarce and let them get on with it for an hour or two, or an evening. It also gives me some space (from them both!) tbh. It just helps re-balance things in my DH's mind if he's had a good bit of time with DS without constantly hearing "Muuuuuummmmyyyyy!" from him.

Without meaning to sound sexist, mums and dads do different things imo. Babies and young children look to mum for patience and understanding whatever their mood, and most often receive it, and look to dad for laughter, games and one-to-one fun. It doesn't mean that mums and dads can't both do these things, it's just what tends to come naturally and DCs pick up on that. The only time i ever hear a full-bodied laugh from my DS is when DH is playing with him and i very often remind DH of that when he's feeling a bit down and rejected. But on the other hand when DS is sick or grumpy, it's me he wants.

Try to engineer quality time alone with your DCs and focus on the things you do very well for and with them.

januarysnowdrop Tue 22-Jan-13 12:11:10

Ours were exactly the same! dd2 (age 3) is still very Mummy-oriented at the moment, but dd1 (age 5) is now completely out of that phase and absolutely adores her Daddy. They'll grow out of it.

As you say, they're fine with you when their Mum isn't around so try to persuade your partner to do a few more regular activities away from the home (or even maybe to go away for a weekend to visit friends - I did this recently and it was brilliant for everyone concerned!) so that you have regular times when you're in sole charge - I know my dh really enjoys doing this & it really helps his relationship with them. Suggest that she takes up some evening activities so that you can be in charge of bedtime on a regular basis. It's hopeless for us when dd2 knows that I'm in the house, because she'll just demand me, but if she knows I'm not available she's more than happy with her Daddy.

jonpb71 Tue 22-Jan-13 19:57:12

Many thanks to all for your very helpful and supportive words. smile

Kind regards,

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 22-Jan-13 20:39:53

Jon it is totally normal but just want to give you some hope. My DS was all mine until he discovered daddy did more exciting boy stuff like biking and video games, now I hardly get a look in.

Teahouse Tue 22-Jan-13 20:47:39

My DS2 would only want me until he was 5. He would scream until I sorted him out at night (didn't sleep through until that age) As everyone has said above, I really wouldn't fret too much...totally normal

deleted203 Tue 22-Jan-13 20:50:59

It is totally normal at the age they are at present, Jon (I've got 5 kids). You can console yourself with the fact that as they get older and a bit less clingy to 'mum' that you are likely to make up for lost time. Boys like to do 'rough and tumble' things with dad and little girls are VERY often 'daddy's girls'. At the moment they are just very little.

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